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Invisibility Cloak

June 19, 2006

Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak may not be completely fictional for much longer.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Making invisibility possible. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Within several years, invisibility cloaks could transfer from Harry Potter’s world to our own. This according to theoretical physicist John Pendry of Imperial College London. In the journal Science, he and his colleagues propose making such a cloak from high-tech meta-materials. Pendry explains that in a meta-material, the molecules are artificially re-organized to change the material’s physical properties: for example, the way it refracts and scatters light.

JOHN PENDRY (Imperial College London):
So instead of going in a straight line, it goes in a smooth curve around the object, and then returns to the same trajectory that it had before it hit the cloak.

HIRSHON:
If this still sounds like fantasy, Pendry points out that meta-materials invisible to radar already exist.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.